AS THE mountains no longer sing, my soul laments and mourn - for my fellow inhabitants now past gone from these highland haven.

Advance messengers of the dawn, Long missed along with their distinctive sounds that once made the dawn lively - their breathe resounding in the towers and valleys, a chorus of low and high tunes, echoing and rising to the heavens.

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Missing are the sweet lullabies of noon from flying and creeping cretins. Morning, noon and evening, these faithful creatures gathered in the forest cathedral. Minstrels of the mountains, their raised voices were mixed in the wind.

Heavenly songs spreading! Crisscrossing hills and vales, down to my corral; unending and assuring chants for the living, never failing to bring comfort to this restless mind, or soothed tired glands. To my laying down and rising, pals they all were with their songs and offerings of prayers.

They are gone! Their lovely voices replaced by discordant wails, if not solo tunes of longing for the missing,

Bare are the mountains of my haven,

The winds come howling, sounding a dirge, a reliable warning: "As the last lyric of this song comes to its end, so will the Homo sapiens sapien disappear from the realm?"

This is the song, the wind whispers: "Towers of life, all these mountains; as long as living waters flow down from them,

* The fish can swim,

* The crops can be grown,

* And wild and domesticated fauna can graze or fly above and around.

As long as the mountains have their green outgrowths covering their heads -- where mountain minstrels sing their songs, rejoice!"

For dear life, I say "amen." We are safe on this earth. We are here only when our fellow inhabitants are with us. Without them and these others:

Then where are we to be? Can we live anywhere else? Or go where we pushed our fellow inhabitants -to extinction, dust thou art forever!

Our pathways are paved and we move at the speed of the dot.

But our own land and its goodness has shrunk and still shrinking. The rivers have become dry in summer. Or flow with poison and stinking sewers. With the rains, the river roars with deadly silt and debris cascading downstream. Greedy souls, we still don't get it yet.

We lust after "things meant to make life easier." We continue to waste the mountain's surface and its resources. For all of these, we have succeeded in "making life less and less."

Our streams sing in sorrowful voices.

They are not visited by bird or deer. They do not flow with living waters. The fields are brown and dark. Dust bowls, not fields of green -- Sodom's legacy multiplied in humanity's shameless history is what we got.

Painful is the walk on bald mountain backsides. They are ugly in this form. Wounded by deepening gullies and scratches on their tender skins, these devastated mountain haven is fit as a habitation for demons. Our choices are slowly being whittled down to living with them.

And like them, we groan in a place without the bees, the birds and a myriad of flowers and trees.

People of the mountains cry silently no more. While time rushes on, the good life is surely pushed to the brink. Cry out loud instead: "No more..."

* To the burning of the forest and the wastes of profligate existence that thins the air and clog our veins

* To the shrinking of our habitations, the beauty of life and its environment

* To greedy politics that bleeds the coffers and thrashes genuine development

* To the living of life like demons.